Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Words of wisdom from an Aspergian

I see that John Elder Robin Hood-in-reverse is at it again giving his words of wisdom and practical advice from his experiences as a person on the autism spectrum. Gadfly wonders why if JER really cares about helping out those on the spectrum, why he would solicit and accept funds for his own personal use from a charitable organization where he serves in an advisory capacity that is designed (or at least advertised as) as an entity to help those on the spectrum far less fortunate than himself.

Robison starts out that stating that "study after study" has shown that 20 to 40 hours a week of intervention with autistic kids has shown they have far better outcomes as adults than kids left on their own. I am curious as to which studies he is referring to. Certainly not Lovaas (1987) in which no adult outcomes have ever been provided, yet is considered by some as the definitive proof that there is hope for autistics to have a coin-flip probability of normalcy and not have be dependent on the dole.

He also recommends helping a child find out what they are good at and helping them excel at that skill. He uses himself as an example of one who was encouraged in auto mechanics and technology. Never mind that most on the spectrum (regardless of whether they have Asperger's or autism) are not at the functioning level of this gentleman and won't be able to accomplish what he has.

Another word of wisdom is that kids need to avoid making enemies. They need to learn how to act and conform to the rest of the crowd. This is in spite of the fact that he gave a plug for his new book with the ironic title "Be different" at the beginning of the post. It is nothing more than a simple quick fix solution that autistic kids or Asperger's kids with loud voices and funny movements are ever going to be able to control this and they can immediately be accepted by others and not make enemies. Kids with these problems are going to be made fun of and ridiculed and make enemies inevitably. There is really no quick fix for these problems.

Gadfly wonders how wise these words of an Aspergian are.


Larry Arnold PhD FRSA said...

Well US versions of charity seem to be a lot more lax than the UK in terms of who and what they can pay for. I had to forego what would have been legitimate earnings in any other capacity to lecture at at an NAS training event.

Nothing to do with autism, it is just the stink of corruption in the USA where nobody does anything except for what they can get out of it.

Anonymous said...

Larry, the Anti-Americanism is old and a bore. Frankly, its very boorish behavior that makes me think your education system there is inferior to hold such ignorant beliefs. For someone that has so little knowledge of the US, you sure write a lot of junk.

You indite 300 million people without a thought but you want people to understand autistics. Pot meet kettle.

SM69 said...

I think we are getting off track somewhat- Anon your systematic American chauvinism is getting a little old and tiresome too, though I must admit I fail totally to see what is Harry’s point?

But, no kidding, let’s be back on earth- we are all in the same boat here- This is not an issue of nationality.

Let’s address the post instead:

1- Is early intervention as proposed by ABA beneficial or not?

2- Does JER have a voice in autism worth listening to?

1- Absolutely- there have been more updated studies to show this and I would cite here some references in support of this.

Meta-analysis of Early Intensive Behavioral Intervention for children with autism.

Eldevik S PMID: 19437303

Remington R PMID: 17963434

2- Well, I doubt it- if a person stands to cover one voice only as far as autism is concerned- Forget it- there is no room for that person.

Jonathan, any possibility that you have not followed in situ- I mean in real terms, more recent developments since Lovaas 1987?

There are absolutely great developments out there- I don’t mean to say that some people do not learn by themselves, from experience, or to say that all autistics need 1;1 table intensive work. No- But really, you can teach skills that the person will benefit from, you can in that person’s everyday life.

And effective teaching is based on the principles of applied behaviour, whether the parent or teacher is aware of it or not.

And, yes BIG time, autistic people tend to do a lot better with a suitable teaching intervention.

Anybody can learn and this is all what it is about: learning the skills that will make people a more effective, functional and independent individual. That is what education is about. People with autism need it, even more than NT people, who can learn a lot more easily naturally.

Who care about cure? Who cares about being NT? Nobody really.

Oh they say, but this child who has done ABA, appears to rehearse things- oh really?

Actually this is how AS/ ASD people learn naturally, copy paste, they paste normality all over themselves;. What’s wrong with this? Yes it looks awkward, slanted, tilted, odd, untrue to their own personality, but they can function better this way, and who can really condemn this?

Are you expecting an all or nothing outcome to an intervention to know if his has any value?

No-any improvement has a value.

Remember also that you have skills too. Half empty, half full bottle. You see it as half empty, I see it as half full.

Steve Michaels said...

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